The Only 5 Pieces of (Cheap) Equipment You Need in Your Home Gym

The Only 5 Pieces of (Cheap) Equipment You Need in Your Home Gym

By Skye Donovan | Featured on US News

When you ask people why they don’t exercise, most say one of two things: they don’t have enough time or they can’t access to a fitness center. But by creating a space in your home dedicated to exercising, you can save time and exercise without going to a gym. Even better, you can build such a space on the cheap.

Sure, you could buy an expensive treadmill or exercise bike, but those larger pieces of equipment are typically underused and take up valuable space in your home. Plus, larger pieces usually only serve one purpose, and when setting up your own gym, you want to have equipment that you can use for multiple exercises. And with the wide variety of exercise videos and demonstrations available online, you can accomplish your fitness goals by investing in just a few pieces of fitness gear. Here are my five favorite pieces of equipment for a home gym and how to best use them:

1. Yoga Mat

A mat is a must-have: It prevents sweating on your carpets, acts as a cushion on hard surfaces and provides traction so you don’t slip while completing your routine. It certainly comes in handy for yoga, Pilates and stretching, but it’s also critical for performing many strengthening exercises that require you to lie down or kneel.

Yoga mats come in varying lengths and thicknesses, so select one that meets your needs. For example, if you do Pilates or are working out on a concrete floor, you may want a thicker mat for cushioning. It’s also helpful to purchase a mat that has antimicrobial properties because sweat can create an environment attractive to bacteria. If you want, you can also look for additional accessories like a carrying strap to help the mat retain its shape and make it easier to store and travel with. To improve your mat’s longevity, keep it out of the sun and clean it with antibacterial wipes or soap and water after each use.

2. Dumbbells

Depending on the types of exercises you perform, you should be able to get away with a set of 5-, 15- and 20-pound dumbbells. The lighter weights can be used for endurance work with high reps, and the heavier ones can be used for more traditional methods of resistance training.

By not purchasing excessively heavy dumbbells, you might have to get creative, since you can’t simply progress your exercises by increasing the amount of weight you lift. What you can do is make the exercises harder by challenging your balance, holding the weights farther from your body, altering the speed of your exercises or assuming a position that also requires core strength.

3. Stability Ball

This tool tends to take up a lot of space, but it is a workhorse. You can use your stability ball for endless core exercises, which have been shown to help the reduce risk of certain types of injury. Not sure of what kind of ball to buy? The taller you are, the bigger the ball should be. You also want it slightly under-inflated since a more rigid ball makes it less of a challenge for your core. Look for websites and online tutorials for examples of stability ball exercises, just note your own limits of stability and pay attention to your form.

4. Plyo Box

This piece of equipment not only accommodates many types of exercises, but it also doubles as storage for your other fitness gear. Most people use plyo boxes for intense workouts that incorporate jumping and landing, which improve power, cardiovascular endurance and leg strength. You can also fold your yoga mat on top of the box to create a makeshift, well-cushioned bench for resistance exercises like bench presses in which your arms need clearance to the ground. The box can also help enhance flexibility by, for example, acting as a prop for a standing hamstring stretch. Want the most for your money? Invest in an adjustable plyo box so you can vary the size depending on your needs.

5. Jump-Rope

If you want a very inexpensive way to get an intense cardiovascular workout, look no further than this schoolyard classic. Jumping rope also improves reaction time, balance and agility. Plus, you can jump rope almost anywhere and vary the type of jumping depending on your fitness goals. For instance, try doing single leg hops or turning the rope at double the speed with each jump. The other great thing about a jump rope is its ability to be incorporated into circuit training; try using it in between sets of lifting weights, for example.

If you want to purchase more expensive equipment, be my guest. Just keep in mind that owning a top-of-the-line treadmill doesn’t matter one bit if you only use it to hang clothes.

If you’re looking for pilates in Hillsboro, Oregon, look no further than Balance Massage + Core Fitness Studio. We are a fully equipped massage and fitness practice located in downtown Hillsboro. Our core fitness studio features STOTT Pilates®, the gold standard in Pilates training, using specialized equipment. We offer 20 group fitness classes per week, including Zumba, Zenga, and Total Barre, as well as private instruction from our highly qualified team. Much of our massage practice is focused on injury recovery, relief from pain, and car accident and workers compensation rehabilitation. We also provide a variety of massage treatments purely for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Whether you enjoy the attention of one-on-one private training, or the excitement of a group fitness class, Balance Massage & Core Fitness Studio has the right training options to help you meet your fitness, physical therapy, and relaxation goals.

Balance Massage and Core Fitness Studio

233 SE Washington Street, Suite 103
Hillsboro, Oregon 97123

Phone: 503.352.9685